The month has flown. The park opened May 11th with a new exhibit in place. The buildings were freshly cleaned and set up for the season. On sunny days, many tourists walk in to see what we are all about. It seems like the season, like spring, has come early this year.

The Montebello project continues. The footings for the boardwalk were poured early in June.   Integrity began working on the roof. The building will be close to lock up stage soon. IMG_4385.JPG

Amidst the sound of construction are happy children on school tours. This is an unusual year. It isn’t the way it is supposed to be, with heavy equipment operating from behind the construction fence. How do we tell this story?

The always optimistic General Manager was first out to meet the children on Thursday, June 1st. Susan Mackie donned her old fashioned gear to meet Highland Park’s grades ones and threes.  The Armstrong children had come for a “Haney Day” that included tours, games, school, making ice cream, panning for gold, a walk along Helenita’s nature trail, and watching a smithy magically turn something hard into another shape. They were pumped and dressed for the occasion.

Behind the construction fence, Exel’s crews were cutting rebar, making forms for the concrete pillars that would be poured the next day, applying “rolled” roofing to the Montebello’s “flat” roof, and just doing what needed to be done. 

Susan was cheerful. The situation wasn’t ideal, but putting her best food forward, she told the students that Mr. Haney had a lot of money and was building a new building so that they had more things to see and do next year. They’d have to come back to see what he was up to!

From a curatorial standpoint, grades 1 and 3 still believe in magic. You can convince them to suspend disbelieve when they come to the Village. They also don’t really get worked up or confused about the obvious conflict between presentations. They comfortably disassociate being taught how to gold pan by a historical character, Pete the gold widow,  right beside a journeyman carpenter banging away on a new 6,000 square foot building.

What did the students learn? The things we usually teach about the days of the early settlers. They went away tired, filled with ice cream that they had help to churn, and, hopefully, wanting to bring their parents back to see the Montebello project’s progress.

Thank you teachers and parents for your patience!  We’re still open for business.